Franchise Development Leader: Pure Barre’s Mike Kormelink
Franchise Development Leader: Pure Barre’s Mike Kormelink

The fitness brand’s VP of Real Estate, Design & Construction weighs in on how his team executes the delivery of an ever-evolving product to customers and franchisees alike

With nearly 500 studios nationwide and counting, Pure Barre is one of the most established fitness franchises and is still ripe with growth potential. 1851 caught up with Mike Kormelink, VP of Real Estate, Design & Construction with Pure Barre, to gain insight on the brand’s development strategy and process.  

How did you first get involved with the franchising industry?

I spent my career in retail real estate until 2013, when I began looking for a change. The opportunity to work for Pure Barre stood out due to the brand’s passionate following among clients and franchisees alike. Although I did not have a great deal of experience working in a franchised system, as a fitness-minded person myself, I was drawn to the opportunity to help passionate entrepreneurs on their journey as small business owners. My role with Pure Barre began very focused on providing assistance to new owners during the real estate process, but has expanded to include other areas of development, including new and existing unit sales.

What do you love about the industry?

My favorite thing about franchising is the relationships I am able to form with our owners and the ability to have a direct impact as they set out to create their business. Nothing is more exciting than an owner we’ve worked with to open their first Pure Barre unit calling to express interest in expanding their relationship with us. Seeing how much that first-time business owner learns and grows from our first interaction with them to getting reacquainted as they work to expand is so rewarding.

What's the biggest change you've seen in the industry since you started out in franchise development?

Across a diverse group of industries, there are so many brands deciding to expand via franchising. I view this as a reflection of a shift to a service- and membership-based retail environment where the product sold to consumers is a daily experience, not a commodity. In this type of environment, the person acting as the face of the brand at the unit level is extremely important and franchising represents one unique structure for brands to find the right fit.

What makes a great franchisee?

The best franchisees are a great brand fit and unwavering in their pursuit of success – not just financial success, but success as a leader of a team and success in impacting their clients’ lives on a daily basis. Sometimes that pursuit of success will require that the franchisee step outside of their comfort zone or be very conscious of their strengths (and weaknesses). Good franchisees also must understand the day-to-day and longer-term lifestyle associated with the hard work that goes into being a successful franchisee. There are ups and downs over the life cycle of any business and franchisees are not immune to that.

What's the number one thing that sells franchises?

A strong product! For Pure Barre, our product is our choreography and technique, led by our training team. They ensure that classes are consistent across geographies and scalable to a broad demographic, and are constantly assessing ways to innovate the client experience.